"Is This Any Way To Run An Army? Stoned?" Rolling Stone Magazine, November 1968

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Day-Tripper, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. Humey

    Humey Member

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    The problem with the voluntary army is that most people today have absolutely no connection to the military. They neither have a family member in the military nor do they know someone that is in the military. Whatever you wanted to say about the draft and how certain people where able to get out of it, it was distributed through all economic and social classes. Maybe not fairly and mabye not equally, but it did touch on all of them. Where many of our political leaders in the past had military experience, my guess it that most future presidents wont. That is the difference between the US military and the Israeli military. Everyone in Israel has a family member in the military and if you dont have family in it, your friends and neigbhors do. What affects the military affects you. In the US, until literally 3 weeks ago when my son commissioned, I had no connection to the military and honestly never knew someone who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan. I would say that would be true for most of my friends. Its actually very sad.
     
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  2. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper Member

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    From 1865 to 1917 (52 years) the US had no draft and only fought a relatively minor Spanish-American War in 1898. Yet the draft of 1917-1918 was more successful than the government ever hoped for. And this was without a dramatic Pearl Harbor or 9/11 as a caucus beli. The US Army was, with the possible exception of the British, the most powerful on earth by Armistice Day in 1918.

    Had a draft been initiated after 9/11 there would have been very little domestic opposition. If a citizen army been available, more manpower would have been deployed in Afghanistan, perhaps helping win that conflict. If a citizen army been available, perhaps the completely unwarranted invasion of Iraq would not have been politically possible.
     
  3. Humey

    Humey Member

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    I agree that if there had been a draft after 9/11 there would have been very little domestic opposition. What people seem to forget was the Iraqi war was very popular in the beginning and history has been rewritten at least by Democrats as if their was a grand opposition to it. Just like the popularity of the war turned, so would have popularity of the draft. Having said that, unless the US was directly invaded and even then, a draft wouldnt be sucessful or rather popular. I think their are three types of people who are off draft age. The first being who enlist or become officers through the three normal channels with the second being those who normally wouldnt serve but if they had to, they would probably serve well. The third group would be those who went in screaming and crying, with the ACLU on speed dial and their parents suing the federal government. My guess is that that the third group would be the largest. I understand it worked in the past but you had youths who were Americans first. Most of todays kids coinsider themselves citizens of the world and living in the US is purely geographical
     
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  4. eljay60

    eljay60 AFROTC parent, former ANC in USAR

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    Very well put. There is a reason that today's blockbusters feature enemies who are aliens, robots, isolated loners or described as 'extremists' - instead of regular ol' humans from a different continent. It's tough to maintain idealism when the opposing side can provide easily accessible documentation supporting their point of view. Cell phones and worldwide internet make it far harder for nation-states to manage the message, and knowing there are kids starving in Syria and Yemen because of decisions made by the United States is not very palatable. My first memory of the nightly news? Body counts from Vietnam. My first memory of what comes out of Washington DC? The Watergate hearings. Nowadays, the 'crimes' of Watergate (a low level functionary being too zealous in trying to get intel from the opposing side) wouldn't even get a mention on the nightly news - it's just business as usual. There are times I'm amazed there is anyone who wants to serve.

    To me, military people are realists and pragmatists, but not cynics. Every generation of the military has some version of the Charge of the Light Brigade that has pretty much wiped out any romanticism associated with military service, but most of us have an idealistic streak that makes us want to defend and support what could be, rather than what is.
     
  5. OldRetSWO

    OldRetSWO USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs 5-Year Member

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    FALSE! The US military met all of its recruiting targets throughout the war and, while quality metrics were allowed to slip a bit, the vast majority were High School grads or better as opposed to the draft era when significant numbers of dropouts were not just accepted, they were actively recruited along with numerous incident of "Jail or the Military" recruits that are absolutely not allowed today.

    Which nuclear subs are unneeded? we don't have enough to meet mission requirements NOW, many are becoming too old to safely submerge and you're saying that new ones are unneeded? Let me guess, by your comment, I'm guessing you're an Army guy who thinks that more Army will solve everything if only those other pesky services would go away.
     
  6. Humey

    Humey Member

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    Not arguing with you because I dont have all the facts, but I remember reading how the military had problems meeting all of their recruiting targets and how they were sending guys to Iraq and Aghantistan who already did several tours and were fighting not to go back. Didnt they also send Nation Guard and Reserves there in order to maintain the numbers needed. They may have had enough between all their sources, but I dont think they had surplus troops during the height of the fighting
     
  7. OldRetSWO

    OldRetSWO USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs 5-Year Member

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    That was not a recruiting problem, it was a budget problem. The Defense Budget that is put into place each year includes end strength for each service and that is a matter of LAW. The services can't bring on more people even though they may be re-touring people or using reserves. It may seem crazy but that is a matter of law. We could have had 10 million more people in line at the recruiting stations and could STILL not have brought more people into the services. Manpower is expensive and closely tracked by the services for that reason.
     
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  8. eljay60

    eljay60 AFROTC parent, former ANC in USAR

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    I was in the service at that time; a lot of the people who were repeatedly sent was because they had an in-demand skill set. My unit (an Army reserve combat support hospital) was used to bring deployed units up to strength and backfill active duty people who had deployed. The docs, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants were all mobilized for 3-6 month tours. Senior NCOs (E5 and up, E7s really got hammered) were called up for 15 month tours. Back then certain units (civilian affairs) had become exclusively reserve units - which meant they were repeatedly sent back, since there were only so many of them to do the job. Active duty medical units were rare - in 2003, even the one that supported the 101st Airborne was a reserve unit, and as reservists they were deployed multiple times. Since we have been deploying troops on foreign soil for more than 15 years now, I'm not sure if that philosophy has changed, but the 'reserves' are a far cry from what they were in the Vietnam era.
     
  9. emwvmi01

    emwvmi01 5-Year Member

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    The
    The idea that the reserves was to supplement active forces is rather misleading. Rather the reserve units were deployed and are missioned to augment active forces with specific skill sets. So there are actually very few reserve infantry/armor/artillery formations but the reserves are filled with logistical and medical organizations which works well particularly as many of the members of these units also practice that skill in a civilian profession.

    On a different note Humey mentions that Soldiers were rotated to theater multiple times and alludes to the idea they were fighting not to go back. As someone who did four rotations between 2003 and 2010 that just wasn't my experience. Most of the multiple rotators were those of who are career Soldiers (officers and NCOs) we knew that was a professional requirement and while there were family challenges it wasn't as if you saw tons of rats jumping to get off the ship.
     
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  10. Humey

    Humey Member

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    I cant remember the article or the magazine, but I remember reading this pretty long article in a magazine about this one guy who really didnt want to go back. He had done several tours and he mentally couldnt go back. He had doctors who agreed with him and yet they were forcing him back. I am sure I forgot most of the details as this was several years ago but they were using this guy as an example of the many who served willingly but because the military didnt have enough people, they kept having to keep using the same people over and over. I am not arguing with those who were there or have first hand knowledge. I am just saying what I read.
     
  11. MemberLG

    MemberLG 5-Year Member

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    It was lack of leadership at the national level as we started wars with we had but didn’t adjust our force structure to “win.” Around 2001, US military was structured to fight two non-simultaneous regional conflicts with some focus on peacekeeping operations. I recall General Shienski (spelling?) being ostracized by Rumsfeld for saying something like we will need 200,000 or 300,000 troops to stabilize Iraq post combat operations. We couldn’t do that unless we abandoned everyone else as our military wasn’t structured to have a large occupying force in a foreign country nor trained to perform such mission. With not having a clear strategy on what do in Iraq, we couldn’t define what winnig supposed to look like and accordingly couldn’t take actions to increase DoD budget or change to size of the military. So US military did what it does best, make it work with what we have. To win a war the whole country has to mobilize, not just volunteers.
     
  12. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    General Eric Shinseki.
    Best accomplishments while serving in the Army:
    • He spoke the truth to Rumsfeld over the troops needed to occupy Iraq and consequently derailed his own career.
    • Pushed for the implementation of Stryker brigades in a matter of four years.
    • Served honorably in two tours in Viet Nam, earning two Purple Hearts (losing the front part of one of his feet).
    Worst thing he did (in my humble opinion):
    • Issued berets to all Soldiers. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
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  13. bruno

    bruno 10-Year Member Retired Staff Member

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    Rumsfeld earned my disgust with his flip comment "you fight the wars with the Army you have, not with the one you wish you had". That might be true enough, but you pick the wars you fight based on the capability and willingness to undertake the burden of fighting that war- and then when your plans go astray - you work like hell to supply that Army with what it needs for the fight that you put it in. Rumsfeld and the Chicken Hawks in his staff did a best-case scenario of what they would need in Iraq and planned accordingly, even though there were plenty of indications that the real fight was not going to be storming into Baghdad- but what would happen after we blew through the Iraqi Army. So long after it was apparent that (paraphrasing Colin Powell) having tipped over the china shop, we were gonna have to buy the broken crockery and start gluing it back together - the OSD and his minions were still pretending that a pick up team of Iraqi politicians could put it all back together again while we stood aside. Shinseki showed some real moral courage by articulating the reality that we would likely need a much larger / longer presence on the ground in Iraq. Instead we raced in, threw all of the cards into the air and discovered with no plans and no resources on the ground , things got worse and we couldn't go home- and all the F22's, Drones, Satellites and Light Sabres that the "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA) gurus were counting on were pretty useless in a fight for the security of neighborhoods.
    I second the thoughts about berets- what a goofy idea that was. Everybody was going to have the esprit of the Ranger Regiment or SF because of their cover?
     
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  14. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

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    @bruno

    My gut to your keyboard...talking about Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Ledeen, and Co.

    Berets don't move my gut, but I understand how they do move others' guts.
     
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  15. eljay60

    eljay60 AFROTC parent, former ANC in USAR

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    Amen and amen. I could never get that thing to look right, since as a medical reservist I only wore it a few times a year. As a female with fine, straight hair, any attempt to adjust it made it slide right off. The field cap was so much better. I even preferred the garrison cap to that d@#^ beret...
     
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  16. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper Member

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    Actually I'm a former Marine but also a advocate of a return to a Big Army. For the US Army to have only 450,000 or so on active duty is woefully insufficient. I'd like to see a return to the 800,000-900,000 of the late Reagan era. Or more.

    As for the Army meeting its' "recruiting targets" circa 2004-2008, well, yeah make those "targets" low enough to avoid embarrassment. But to the guys who had to serve 4, 5 or 6 tours of duty, I'll bet they weren't impressed with those "targets".

    Bring back the draft.
     
  17. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper Member

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    Americans turned against the Iraq War largely due to failure and quagmire (not too unlike Vietnam, which also had popular support in the early years). But even at the outset of the Iraq War, there was considerable opposition. For damn good reasons. I won't relitigate that here.

    As for your harsh assessment of America's willingness to sacrifice, I disagree tremendously. Prior to both WW1 and WW2 there were many anti-war, pacifist Americans and many others who predicted conscription would be an absolute failure. They were wrong. And the ACLU existed during both of those wars.

    I think that given the right cause, young Americans of 2018 as just as patriotic as those of 1917 and 1941.

    Strong nations demand sacrifices of their citizenry, or they no longer are strong nations. You can't stay powerful using mercenaries, as the Romans showed us.

    Chinese will fight and die for China.

    Germans will never again fight and die for Germany.

    Both nations are powerful, but nobody is afraid of Germany.
     
  18. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper Member

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    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc. (and a lot us on this forum) had seen the US win quick, easy, relatively casualty-free conflicts in Panama 1989, Persian Gulf 1991, Serbia 1999, etc. Even anti-war persons assumed the US and its allies would "win" (whatever that means) Iraq in a few weeks in the spring of 2003., they just were against the rationale for the war.

    Rumsfeld said the war might be "Six days, six weeks or six months, but I guarantee it won't be any longer than that." US combat troops spend nearly 9 years in Iraq (2003-2011). US military personnel are still there, occasionally engaged in combat and suffering casualties. It was (is?) the 3rd most expensive war in US history, financed entirely with borrowed money. And Iraq today is far closer to being an Iranian client than being a bastion of freedom and liberty in the heart of the Islamic world, as the Bush Administration promised us.

    They were all very horribly wrong. And at great cost in blood and treasure. And great cost in US reputation globally.
     
  19. theguythatknowsaguy

    theguythatknowsaguy New Member

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    Thing is that if you start mandating that sort of service people would start lynching politicians over Constitutional violations. Why would you accept being forced to do something by a government that disregards its foundational document? I agree with the concept of mandatory service but you might not like the millions of military aged and trained men floating around. That sort of situation has often resulted in a overthrow of government historically and the current political situation in America should not be agitated further. Our capitol already saw riots by violent communists; and eventually those sorts of people will find a grievance to start more serious violence. It would be wise to let things simmer down.
     
  20. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper Member

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    It was millions of military aged and trained men "floating around" that went to work and built the massive American economic superpower of the 1950s-1970s.

    The conscripted veterans of WW1, WW2 & Korea never came home radicalized, ready for revolution, terrorism, anachism.

    Neither did most of the rafted Vietnam Vets. Contrary to common belief, among some.

    Neither would young Americans today.

    This is a basically good country, whose offspring are better than a lot of the "get off of my lawn" elders would like to believe.
     
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